19th May 2024
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Spain finally deports Bolivians whose false visas delayed cruise ship in Barcelona

Spain has finally deported 65 Bolivians who were found to be in possession of fake visas after their arrival in Barcelona on a cruise ship earlier this month, which caused chaos for other passengers.

Only four of the 69 Bolivian nationals who were on the MSC cruise ship, which docked in the port of Barcelona on 2 April, were allowed to stay, according to Spanish media. They are three siblings from the same family, and the daughter of one of these. Their parents are residents of Girona and the father has Spanish nationality. 

The rest, however, were finally taken by bus from the port on Thursday where they had been held since the MSC Armonia docked. From there they were flown to Santa Cruz, the second-biggest city in Bolivia.  The cost of the flight was covered by MSC. 

Carlos Prieto Gómez, the Spanish government’s delegrate in Catalonia, confirmed that the Bolivians had returned to their country., and thanked the ambassador of Bolivia, Nardi Suxo, and the Catalan security forces for their work.

The cruise ship had set sail from Brazil in mid-March, and was scheduled to make a series of stops in the Mediterranean before reaching its final destination of Venice in Italy. 

However, when the ship arrived in Barcelona, none of the 1,500 passengers were allowed to disembark due to the fake visas in possession of the group of Bolivians. 

The falsified documentation was not initially detected by MSC, even once the passengers had boarded and the ship had set sail. 

But when the documentation was sent to the Spanish authorities ahead of the vessel’s arrival, the alarm was raised. 

The cruise ship had finally been allowed to leave the port last Wednesday with the other passengers aboard. The Bolivians, meanwhile, were held in an MSC ferry until they were officially deported.

The Spanish authorities rejected asylum requests that were filed by some of the group. 

Relatives of the Bolivians, who were at the port when the ship arrived expecting to receive them, told reporters on the scene that their family members had been the victims of a scam, and that they had been sold the tickets by a travel agent who claimed that the package included valid visas to live and work in Spain. 

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